This photo essay traces the materiality of urban cemeteries in Swaziland to underscore the production of dignity in contemporary funeral culture. Increasingly, death and burial in town are realities for many people who have lost social ties or land tenure in rural areas where burials customarily take place. Urban burials register anxieties about cultural and socio-economic change and the value of human life, but new mortuary consumer markets have incited novel commemorative practices that qualify these burials as dignified. The photos derive from long-term ethnographic research in Swaziland on transformations of dying, death and funerals in the wake Southern Africa’s HIV/Aids epidemic.
Read more in the journal Anthropology Southern Africa